Zoo Keepers: Gay Penguin Separation Means Survival of the Species


Canada's National Post:

Splitting up a pair of potentially homosexual African penguins and pairing them with females might sound anti-gay, but keepers at the Toronto Zoo insist they are simply trying to preserve the species.

Pedro, 10, and Buddy, 20, were brought to the Toronto Zoo this year from Pittsburgh’s National Aviary to “pair-bond” with a couple of eligible females. Instead, the pair bonded with each other. Zookeepers now report seeing the pair snuggling, calling to each other and displaying courtship behaviour.

This week, the Toronto Zoo says it will be forced isolate the pair.

“The two girls have been following them; we just have to get the boys interested in looking at them,” said Tom Mason, curator of birds and invertebrates at the Toronto Zoo.

With Pedro and Buddy’s species on the cusp of extinction, Mr. Mason insists that the Toronto Zoo cannot afford to let a season go by without passing on the pair’s genes. “If [Pedro and Buddy] weren’t genetically important, then we’d let them do their thing,” Mr. Mason said.